Earlier this year, we caught wind of a new piece of hardware coming from Sling TV by the name of the AirTV. The box — which would add over-the-air (OTA) local channels to Sling TV — seemed to be headed for a spring release, but that never happened. Now, the box has surfaced again. It was spotted by Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny, who first reported on the AirTV, and this time, it’s got a price and tentative release date.
“With AirTV and an HD antenna, you can stream live local programming, news, and your local sports anywhere in your home using the free Sling TV app and its integrated program guide. No paid contracts — just free local TV on any compatible device. And if you want more channels, you can subscribe to paid Sling TV packages — all from the same app,” a draft Amazon listing reads.
The listing mentions that the box is compatible with antennas from Mohu, RCA, and others. Sling TV functionality isn’t included in the box, so you’ll need the Sling TV app for iOS, Android, or compatible players like the Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Though Sling TV is now available on the Apple TV, that particular hardware isn’t explicitly mentioned as being compatible.
A pulled B&H Photo listing has even more interesting information: The AirTV could be coming relatively soon. The expected availability is listed as September 17, putting the release roughly one month away. Potential buyers might be put off by the $150 price tag, which makes it more expensive than the streaming boxes they use to watch Sling TV.
Zatz’s sources say the AirTV uses reworked Slingbox M1 and M2 hardware to handle the OTA reception, meaning this is likely a relatively cheap experiment for Echostar and Dish Network, the two companies behind the box. Whether the AirTV will be successful remains to be seen, but this isn’t the only product offering similar functionality. Earlier this week, LG officially unveiled its new Channel Plus feature, which puts certain streaming services alongside OTA channels on its webOS 3.0-powered smart TVs.